In looking at my core personality as a foundation of my leadership style, I would say that I am a detail and solution focused, hard-working individual who prefers to work within a team environment, building on the strengths of multiple people to organize and function towards a larger goal. I am willing to take on large challenges and tasks, as one of my strengths is to view the larger picture behind the small goals required to accomplish greater outcomes. I would also say that I am willing to go “against the grain” (Bad Religion - Album and Song - 1990) in a non-abrasive manner to create change, as I have experienced much insight through exposure to counter-culture and it’s eye opening benefits throughout my life. Lastly, I am also willing to work independently for long periods without recognition to realize goals ,as I think that personal growth often stems from unspoken and long-term goals and grit.
Two key life experiences that have shaped my approach to leadership would be my participation in sports throughout life and my becoming an educator. I have played team sports in a small town throughout my whole youth and now adult life, hockey, volleyball, basketball and badminton. This created an infinite network of relationships and connections that taught me teamwork, mentor ship, hard-work and community. Also, in looking at many of my coaches throughout the years, I have developed a sense of what it takes to be a strong leader in the athletic realm and larger community. I appreciated the firm, yet kind and caring coach who had high expectations and a sense of fairness. I have always searched for this environment and type of supervisors in my working life as well. In my adolescent years, I developed a love of individual outdoor sports, including snowboarding, rock-climbing, surfing and whitewater kayaking. These reinforced my understanding of internal / personal goals, developing a deep intrinsic motivation to enjoy my time and reach specific achievements without much extrinsic reward. In my adult life, I have taken on the role of coach over the last 15 years and more recently, referee to continue to grow and give-back to youth. From co-coaching basketball and volleyball in pre-internship and internship to coaching high school and minor hockey for 11 years I have attempted to pass on to youth the lessons that were taught to me, that regardless of the external outcomes we pursue, it is in teamwork, love of what you do and your personal best effort that we gain the most important aspects of what makes your time worthwhile in sport or in life.
Becoming an educator has really shaped my adult life, as it leads to an infinite number of ways to become a leader to youth and colleagues in the educational sphere. I have learned to communicate in many different ways depending on the grade level, subject area and individual situations that would help each student and colleague to be motivated and develop a passion for learning and accomplishing goals in the classroom and school. Personally, I try to instill passion for a topic or subject by displaying it myself and working hard to develop lessons and activities that will reinforce these goals. In attempting to be a leader in the school, I have been lucky to work with a great staff team being part of leading outdoor school, developing a credit completion program in 2008 at our school (now just a regular part of all classes), implementing larger grade 9 cross-curricular programming, starting homework blitz days or half days (regular occurrence twice a semester now), Blanket Exercise Facilitator and more! Lastly, I have become a formal leader in the school recently by becoming a Core Leader for grade specific homeroom teachers, and co-leading Engagement PD with our staff. In all these experiences in my teaching career, I have focused on staying an effective teacher in the classroom and woodshop and developing meaningful relationships with students, administration and colleagues alike.
I would say that I never really had the goal of being a leader but just a part of the team, in most of the stages of my career and life, but over time my role has evolved to take on various leadership positions through natural consequence of the roles, and goals I have placed on myself and that were tasked to me from others. Without attempting to be egotistical, maybe I have “strong character and selfless devotion to an organization (Jenkins, 2013)” or maybe it was coincidence that roles were needed and I was willing to fill them from coaching to new programming in a school. I believe the leadership styles from our readings that seem most relevant to me (or of the most interest) in order of importance are Relationship / Transactional Theory (Coach - Player - Team OR Teacher - Student - Colleagues - Administration), Skills Theory (Sport Knowledge and Team Organization OR Classroom effectiveness and Implementing School Wide Initiatives) and lastly, Participative Theory (Team Communication in Sport and School). My shortcomings as a leader would be taking on too much in many realms at once and not always communicating clearly to all members of a team depending on my relationship to each individual. I look forward to my continued growth as a leader in sport, education and my community, and feel reflecting on this role is really helping to make me more cognizant of how I am as a leader.
Thanks for reading!